Spain fightback to beat England 2-1 in up-and-down Nations League match
Spain were the better side but had to work for a 2-1 UEFA Nations League comeback win against England at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night.
Both sides fielded solid XIs for the match as Luis Enrique oversaw his first game in charge of La Roja after being hired to replace interim boss Fernando Hierro, who managed the team at the 2018 World Cup following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui.
And both teams were on the scoresheet before the quarter-hour, with Marcus Rashford scoring from an inch-perfect Luke Shaw cross on the counter-attack and Saul smashing home a first-time shot in traffic from Rodrigo’s cross to make it 1-1.
Rodrigo then put Spain in the lead in the 32nd minute, cleverly redirecting an inswinging Thiago free kick at the near post to beat Jordan Pickford in the England goal.
The match was halted for nearly five minutes soon after the restart when England defender Shaw went down after a collision with Dani Carvajal and had to be stretchered off the field. An FA spokesperson confirmed after the match that Shaw was “fine and walking and talking in the dressing room.”
Danny Rose came on for Shaw at left-back as the tempo of the match slowed immediately following the Manchester United player being carried off the field, with neither side fashioning any real chances in the following 15 minutes.
The game opened up in the closing minutes as England pushed for an equaliser, with Rashford shooting right at De Gea after being played into the penalty area with a neat ball from Harry Kane.
England World Cup revelation Harry Maguire headed a Kieran Trippier corner kick just wide of the far post in the 86th minute as Gareth Southgate’s side kicked on in search of a point from the match.
The referee gave nine minutes of injury time following the delay for Shaw’s injury and substitute Danny Welbeck looked to have scored the equaliser from close range, but was harshly whistled for a foul on De Gea as he jumped for a loose ball in front of his net.
The match was also marked by Spain fans chanting “Gibraltar is Spanish” — the country has been trying to get Gibraltar back from Britain for 300 years after ceding it in 1713 — risking a sanction from football authorities.
The three points see Spain go top of UEFA Nations League Group 4, with the third team in the group, Croatia, yet to play their opener.